36 hours ago, I taught an English lesson to an advanced student.
My student told me she had heard I was leaving. After 3 months without English, she wanted to come in and talk with me on my last day as an English teacher in Kawasaki, Japan. Excited to see her, I immediately asked what was new in her life.
From next year, she won’t have a job. She has no plans of getting married, and has no exit strategy.
Before I could ask any questions for conformation, express condolences or even wish her luck; she said very directly, and very succinctly,
“Tell me about your future”
I related my plans. I will go around the world, teaching myself the sciences, filming the beauty I find, and hopefully volunteering as much as possible.
“But why? Is that your dream?”
Well… to be honest, the idea scares me. I have spent the last year researching about all of the incredibly scary things that could happen to me. I mean, going around the world is a dangerous business. She interrupted…
“You told me before that you do ice baths.”
True, yes. They aid in fighting muscle soreness and brown fat activation. Extremely painful though…
“Your hobby is volunteering”
Of course, it’s so much more exciting being paid in laughs as opposed to cash.
“You sleep 4 hours at night”
Yeah, and I take naps during the day. It’s polyphasic! She had me against the ropes…
“Yeah, and you drank your own 2 day old urine.”
Yeah about that…
This student who I spent so much time working with, every class pushing further and further. Now, she was pushing me. I put my pen down, looked at her and said in a timid voice, “I must”
She just looked back
I sat back in the chair and collected myself, “My dream is to succeed, to prove dreams are viable, to inspire love. I do these things to be an example.”
My brother and sister both have children and maybe someday I will too. When these children have children, I need that generation to look back through my Facebook logs and see something worth repeating.
“That’s not enough for you”
No… it’s not. I sat up, aligned my spine, rotated my shoulders back and met her eyes and with naked honesty, related my dream.
“My dream? My dream is to walk into a faraway pub, down the side-streets of a forgotten town, exhausted. I slump into the corner, sipping on the house ale letting my thoughts wander. Across the smoky room, I will hear voices laughing and cheering. I lean in and listen. The storyteller of the joyous group will be relating his life, each hardship trumping the one before it yet each event conjuring up the most excited revelations and hilarious coincidences. Listening closely, someone to the side will place his pint down and asks what had inspired such a life.
The man will say, “Some guy showed me it was possible. So I did it.”
I will smile and sip my drink.